Sunday Night,
October 12, 2008

October Surprises from Nicaragua --

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- It's a strange fate to find myself viewing these historical events this October before election day 2008 from Nicaragua. It's a place I have known only from what I have read, and most of that is about the hideous activities of the U.S. government and U.S. corporations here, leading to the killing and terrorizing and the impoverishment of many innocent Nicaraguans. So it was certainly fascinating to get a view of Nicaragua from street level, to hear that history spoken from the mouths of the people who live here.

I can only view that history from the perspective of the present, and we seem at the vortex of a vast historical hurricane right now. Oddly enough, since I left the U.S. a week ago and came to Nicaragua, I have become more hopeful about what is happening in the states. The larger conviction that I have developed on this trip is that while politicians attach themselves to historical movements, identify themselves with events, they can provide focus, leadership, affect events. But their power is limited over historical movements. They are largely parasitic of the larger movements of history. We identify historical movements with them, supporting the notion that they are in control, when usually they are trailing along at the tail of historical movements, attaching themselves to those movements and trying to take credit for things.

Very briefly, the arc of Nicaraguan history is this. For 40 years, the country was controlled by the Somoza family, a dictatorship propped up by U.S. government for corporate interests like United Fruit, which people like the Dulles brothers and the Bush family were tied up with and profiting from. Nicaragua was practically a colony of the United States, run with a brutal hand by U.S. puppets for most of the 20th century. In the 1970s, a broad coalition of segments of Nicaraguan society became fed up with the Somoza family and its corruption as it went into its third generation of domination of the country. The resistance was so powerful, so nearly unanimous, that it succeed in pushing off the dictatorship. The Sandinista party provided leadership, organization, a focal point for the overthrow of Somoza and took over the reins of government themselves.

The Reagan-Bush administration, under the cold war mentality and with the Bush family holdings being threatened, launched their secret war against the Sandinista government through the Contras, who were terrorists and killers. When the U.S. Congress denied the administration the power and money to conduct its war, Reagan and Bush did it covertly, raising money in part by selling weapons to Iran (which they publicly were calling a terrorist state), and drug trafficking, among other things.

For 10 years war raged in Nicaragua between the U.S. supported Contras and the Sandinista government. The U.S. put Nicaragua under an embargo, crippling the country and putting pressure on the Sandinista government. The Sandinistas failed to fulfill their promises, failed to live up to their ideals. Finally in 1979, negotiations for peace were successful. The people demonstrated for democratic elections and the Sandanistas granted them, and the Sandanistas were voted out. Daniel Ortega and the Sandanistas are now back in power, but as a democratically elected government.

The Sandinistas left the country a legacy of democracy, but it was not their voluntary initiative. It was granted reluctantly in response to the demands of the people. Typically, those in power have very different attitudes than they had when seeking power. Similarly, the Sandinistas did not deliver the country from the dictatorial hold of the U.S. puppet Somoza regime. They helped facilitate the overthrow. They were instrumental. But it was a popular movement. And eventually the country moved beyond the rule of the Sandinistas as well. They are back in power, but only within the constitution and the democratic processes it establishes. There are much greater powers than the politicians.

The U.S. was powerful enough to foul the Sandinistan revolution, to keep it from succeeding economically. But U.S. power over the country also has its limits. Now as we see the financial system of the world in freefall collapse, we can see the Bushies up to their old tricks, their disaster capitalism tricks of manipulating disasters to further their agenda and enrich their cronies. But seeing them change in midstream from their initial proposal of buying bad mortgages to infusing cash into the banking system and thereby becoming part owners of the banks, shows that they are not in control in this crisis. They caused it with their support of greed and corruption, their thievery, their lies and destruction of trust and confidence. And they are positioned to profit, by seizing the public wealth to disburse among their cronies and contributors. But now the disaster has spread to the point that even their richest friends could get hurt. The roof is falling in and with no middle class to support the businesses, it will all cave in. So they are beyond their power now. They are at a loss, grasping at straws. Their system has failed. Their free market religion is discredited by their own actions. The free market era is over. The pendulum is swinging back.

As enormously powerful as the Bush administration has been, as ruthlessly as they have wielded that power, they are now over their heads. They are so out of their league, so helpless against the forces they now face, that even these power hungry maniacs may actually reach a point where they voluntarily give up power, just give it to someone else to deal with. They've made their millions. They can retire.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to realize that they have all their election fraud mechanisms in place. They have martial law scenarios in place ready to activate. They have internment camps all ready to house their opposition. But they are not all powerful. There are forces of history as powerful as forces of nature like Katrina, just beyond their control. They manipulated Katrina, too. They sat and looked the other way while the poor and middle class fell through the cracks. They lined up their profiteer friends to benefit from the disaster. But the disaster got beyond their control. Even the well-trained talking heads of the corporate news could not spout the party line as they stood in New Orleans with dead bodies piled around them.

Barack Obama has seen the aspirations of the people to throw off this tyranny and he has articulated that vision and has become a focal point for that struggle and that aspiration. But if he wins the election, it is not he who pushed off the Bush tyranny. It is the people who did it, channeling their power through him. It looks as though the collective will to rid the U.S. of these lying, cheating, election-stealing tyrants has finally reached overwhelming strength.

I hope and pray that the Bush-Cheney mob is finally nearing its last act.

October 1, 2008

So Much News there's really no way to keep up with it. These are indeed strange times. Many developments on many fronts. Here are three links to articles about a lawsuit that is developing in Ohio over Karl Rove's election manipulation activities. See "Conspiracy Theorist" by Josh Mitteldorf, "Can Obama Win and Lose Ohio ...? and "Republican IT consultant subpoenaed in case alleging tampering with 2004 election". This is all very interesting stuff. The Bush mafia seems untouchable, they commit crimes with impunity constantly, thumb their noses at all laws, do whatever they want. God knows how many tricks they have up their sleeves that keep Rove, Bush, Cheney et. al smiling and smirking even as the law seems to close in on them. It seems possible that the law could some day catch up to them. Maybe.
  • On Another Front According to NPR, "Attorney General Michael Mukasey has appointed a federal prosecutor to follow up on a scathing investigation of the Bush administration's decision to fire nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. The Justice Department's inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility released the report jointly Monday morning." More on the report itself here.
  • Who Can You Trust? Dennis Kucinich, on Democracy Now discussing the bailout proposal. "[The proposal] has provisions in it where it talks about helping homeowners, but when you read the fine print, you see it has language like 'may' instead of 'shall' and 'encouraging' instead of 'mandating' help for the millions of homeowners who are worried right now about whether they're going to lose their home. There's no help for them in this... Congress better get ready with a plan B. ... we need to find a way to help Wall Street pay for its own problems. You can do that with a 20-.25 percent stock transfer tax, cancellation of dividends. You know, make the shareholders and the investors have to pay for the funny business that was going on on Wall Street. Why make the taxpayers pay? You know, the very underlying idea of this needs to be challenged, and frankly, there hasn't been enough of that going on."
  • Who Did It? Here's another potentially huge case: the anthrax case is reopening. truthout
  • Millions of Voters Purged -- According to a study by the Brennan Center. According to a new Gallup poll, Bush's approval rating has dropped again, now down to 27 percent. Only Truman and Richard Nixon have had approval ratings of 27 percebt or lower in Gallup Polls. He hasn't had an approval rating over 40 percent for over two years, and only a few that reached or exceeded 50 percent his entire second term in office. How can a president get elected without having 50 percent approval ratings? Answer: He didn't. AOL News

    October 3, 2008

    Duh-bate -- Here's a transcript of the "debate". International Herald Tribune (To the soundtrack of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.") Pat Buchanan on MSNBC going on and on about how Palin was so much more "attractive" than Biden. Duh. I guess so. She "won," he said, because she "connected with the American people." Not this American people. Yeah, she's cute, perky, if that's what you want in a president. There are much cuter women. And there certainly are much smarter, more humane women. She is manipulative, lying, she supports the corporate dictatorship, but pretends to be one of the little people. She tries to create a populist image, but supports the elitist, militarist policies of the Bush administration. She acts like she supports women's rights, but she clearly doesn't. Her language is very strange. Besides the "darn right" kind of cultivated folksiness, her grammar and logic is mangled and twisted. She repeated McCain's lie that when he said "the fundamentals of the economy are sound," he was really praising the American worker. That would mean that he was dodging the question that was being asked about the state of the economy, but they would rather that than for people to face the fact that he is barely able to utter a coherent sentence using economic terms. "Well, Joe, there you go again... now doggone it," she said, repeating Reagan's supposedly brilliant line in his debate with Carter, affecting cleaned up slang from 1940s America, "oh heck" and winking at the audience. Carrying that poor baby up on stage at 11 o'clock at night, like a prop. It's all carefully staged to create a certain image, to endear herself to a nostalgic, disillusioned America. And many people will no doubt buy it. She's a skilled speaker, performer, liar. McCain's "health care plan" will give you a $5,000 tax credit to buy your own health insurance, she said. But it's just a credit, it's not cash in hand. Unless you're making a certain amount of money and paying a certain amount of tax, that credit won't count for anything. She says it "won't cost the government anything." But it costs tax revenue if it does anything. McCain's plan also taxes health insurance benefits. And $5,000 may not buy a health insurance policy anyway. Palin ignored the questions and just recited her talking points. "Governor, please if you want to respond to what he said about Senator McCain's comments about health care?" Palin: "I would like to respond about the tax increases." She did this throughout the debate, even explaining, "I may not answer the questions the way you or the moderator wants, but I'm going to speak directly to the American people." Speak and wink. She says, "I don't want to argue about the causes" of global climate change, but she says we have to do something about it. That's very odd logic. If you want to stop something, isn't knowing what causes it the first step? She also repeated this line that she said to Katie Couric: "I'm not one to attribute every man -- activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet." This is backwards. She's talking about attributing climate change to the activities of man, but she says attributing "man -- activity of man to the changes in the climate," which is a reversal. Some circuit in her brain is reversed. Then she drifted on into generalities, "We've got to clean up this planet..." She referred to "the Talibani", presumably meaning the Taliban, and she said, "John McCain really knows how to win a war!" presumably something else he learned while being a prisoner of war during America's "first lost war".
  • Fact Check Check -- Here's a fact check article about the debate from AP. It's useful, but you need to keep your own fact check mechanism in place as you read it. It tries to create "balance" artificially by putting lies and mistatements on both sides, but it's a stretch to balance it that way. For example, it says Biden "Said McCain supports tax breaks for oil companies, and 'wants to give them another $4 billion tax cut.'" Then it explains, "Biden is repeating a favorite saw of the Obama campaign, and it's misleading. McCain supports a cut in income taxes for all corporations, and doesn't single out any one industry for that benefit." So what Biden said was true, but the truth is even worse. McCain is for giving more tax breaks to corporations.
  • Howard Zinn on the financial crisis: "Let's face a historical truth: we have never had a "free market", we have always had government intervention in the economy, and indeed that intervention has been welcomed by the captains of finance and industry. They had no quarrel with 'big government' when it served their needs. It started way back, when the founding fathers met in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft the constitution. The first big bail-out was the decision of the new government to redeem for full value the almost worthless bonds held by speculators. And this role of big government, supporting the interests of the business classes, continued all through the nation's history. The rationale for taking $700bn from the taxpayers to subsidise huge financial institutions is that somehow that wealth will trickle down to the people who need it. This has never worked. The alternative is simple and powerful. Take that huge sum of money and give it directly to the people who need it." Guardian

    October 4, 2008

    The Economic Patriot Act -- Anthony Michael discusses his theory of "The Pre-Planned Financial/Economic 911 of 2008" at, painting a scenario which compares this financial meltdown to 9/11 and this bailout to the Patriot Act. In this view, these two incidents become the bookends of the Bush administration, which Jim Hightower long ago labeled as the "corporate wet dream". Bush told us around the time he endorsed Johnny Boy McCain that he was far from finished and that he was going to go out with a bang, and he is fulfilling his word. I have no doubt there are even larger catastrophes awaiting us before he leaves office. This financial collapse is the pretext for essentially nationalizing the financial system under the corporate dictatorship as personified by the Bush regime, and giving Bush's boy Paulson. What they seek is to give Paulson nearly unlimited authority to spend tax money any way he wants without checks, oversight or accountability.
  • The Global Corporate State -- Meanwhile Harper's publisher Rick MacArthur was interviewed on Democracy Now about his new book You Can't Be President. In the interview he says that Obama used his book The Audacity of Hope to advertise his availability to the corporate state by stating clearly his affinity with it and his approval of it. "Another thing that astonishes me," says MacArthur, "is that no one seems to have read his book, The Audacity of Hope. It's all over his book that he favors free trade, he favors -- he's very friendly with the investment bank community, with the hedge funds, with the corporate lawyers and so on and so forth. And these are the people -- despite the fact that he has raised a great number of small contributions from individuals with not much money, his campaign is dominated by the corporate and the financial sectors. He does this by saying to people, 'Look, you have nothing to fear from me. I'm essentially sympathetic to your points of view.' And he says so in his book. The Audacity of Hope is essentially an advertisement for his availability, for his nonthreatening position vis-a-vis the financial community. He says in the book at one point -- he's talking to Robert Rubin, his new friend and Clinton's former Treasury secretary, and he says, 'Well, you know, Bob Rubin, he's a great guy, and it's hard to argue with his fundamental thesis, which is that globalization is inevitable.' Now, this is one of the great cliches of modern times, to say that globalization is inevitable. But in any event, it announces to the investment bankers and the corporate lawyers and so on, and the lobbyists, 'You have nothing to fear from me. Contribute to my campaign. I'll be just as good on free trade as Hillary Clinton.'"
  • The Bush Terror Regime -- According to Dean Baker at Truthout, "This is the first time in the history of the United States that the president has sought to provoke a financial panic to get legislation through Congress. While this has proven to be a successful political strategy, it marks yet another low point in American politics. It was incredibly irresponsible for President Bush to tell the American people on national television that the country could be facing another Great Depression. By contrast, when we actually were in the Great Depression, President Roosevelt said that, 'we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.'... The scare tactics of President Bush, Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Bernanke created sufficient panic, so that by the time of the vote, much of the public believed that the defeat of the bailout may actually have had serious consequences for the economy. Millions of people have changed their behavior because of this fear, with many pulling money out of bank and money market accounts, and in other ways adjusting their financial plans. This effort to promote panic is especially striking since the country's dire economic situation is almost entirely the result of the Bush Administration's policy failures. First and foremost, the decision of Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke (and previously Alan Greenspan) to ignore the housing bubble, allowed for the growth of an $8 trillion bubble, which is now collapsing."

    October 5, 2008

    Ebert on Ohio 2004 -- Roger Ebert on Free For All. "I'm getting tired of being angry about the 2004 Presidential election. It is now clear enough that it may have been stolen. The vote totals in Ohio are particularly suspect. Florida in 2000 you know all about. But did you ever seriously focus on Ohio 2004? You perhaps have vague memories of a controversy about polling machines. And confused voters. And how the chairman of George Bush's Ohio campaign was the Secretary of State, in charge of overseeing the election. And how the state awarded a $100 million contract for voting machines to Diebold, whose chairman attended a strategy session at Bush's Texas ranch, hosted a $1,000-a-plate dinner for Bush in his mansion, and told the press he would do whatever he could to ensure that Bush won Ohio. You may have missed some details. Such as, that Kenneth Blackwell, the GOP Secretary of State/Campaign Manager decreed (1) that a vote not cast in your precinct would not be counted; (2) that all precinct lines be redrawn; (3) that the new precincts would be explained on the Secretary/Chairman's web site, which unfortunately was six months behind in being updated. Some voters actually found their way to the right place, such as a school gym, but didn't know that as many as four precincts were voting there, so that mathematically three of four were in the wrong lines and voted in the wrong precinct. Of course the Republicans efficiently informed their mailing and e-mail list members of correct voting sites."
  • Alternative Reality -- "From Globalization to Localization" by Garda Ghista, see
  • McCain's Brazilian Babe -- A McCain adviser brings up McCain's affair with a Brazilian model in the '50s as evidence of his abiding interest in Latin America. mcclatchy
  • Springsteen Performs for Obama -- The Bush administration has been a disaster, says Bruce. "I've spent 35 years writing about America and its people and the meaning of the American promise - a promise handed down right here in this city. Our everyday citizens ... have justifiably lost faith in its meaning."
  • High School Nation -- A dress code for voting in Pennsylvania !? Associated Press
  • Danger Zone -- Paul Krugman: "As recently as three weeks ago it was still possible to argue that the state of the U.S. economy, while clearly not good, wasn't disastrous -- that the financial system, while under stress, wasn't in full meltdown and that Wall Street's troubles weren't having that much impact on Main Street. But that was then. The financial and economic news since the middle of last month has been really, really bad. And what's truly scary is that we're entering a period of severe crisis with weak, confused leadership... the fact is that the plan on offer is a stinker -- and inexcusably so. The financial system has been under severe stress for more than a year, and there should have been carefully thought-out contingency plans ready to roll out in case the markets melted down. Obviously, there weren't: the Paulson plan was clearly drawn up in haste and confusion. And Treasury officials have yet to offer any clear explanation of how the plan is supposed to work, probably because they themselves have no idea what they're doing. Despite this, as I said, I hope the plan passes, because otherwise we'll probably see even"
  • Schwarzenegger: California's Out of Money --
  • President Palin? Seriously -- In the context of McCain's cancer history, which the campaign has kept closely guarded, Sarah Palin is particularly frightening. Frank Rich says, "The standard take has it that she's either speaking utter ignorant gibberish (as to Couric) or reciting highly polished, campaign-written sound bites that she's memorized (as at the convention and the debate). But there's a steady unnerving undertone to Palin's utterances, a consistent message of hubristic self-confidence and hyper-ambition. She wants to be president, she thinks she can be president, she thinks she will be president. And perhaps soon. She often sounds like someone who sees herself as half-a-heartbeat away from the presidency. Or who is seen that way by her own camp, the hard-right G.O.P. base that never liked McCain anyway and views him as, at best, a White House place holder." New York Times

    October 7, 2008

    Trust -- Who do you trust? It looks like the Bush administration with their constant lies and undermining the basic fabric of integrity of the country has finally crashed the economic system. It is clearly the Bush administration's follow up act to 9/11, but it's very hard to tell what is purposeful and what is out of their control. We know these are people whose ruthlessness knows no bound. They are not willing to give up power. They are certainly not going to turn over to Barack Obama just because a majority of Americans want that. The two-headed Bush-Cheney monster has set up a variety of new power mechanisms to allow them to seize absolute power, to quash uprisings to imprison thousands of people, to turn the military on the citizenry. But they also know that the inherent power of the people is much greater than their power. The power of the people, however, needs self-awareness, and overwhelming rage. Are we reaching that point? When do the frustrations of the people boil over and become uncontrollable? How much control does the Bush administration actually have over events? We know they are enormously power on a human scale. But there are certainly forces beyond them, forces they cannot control. They have now set off a financial calamity, through letting corruption and greed go crazy until they have undermined the trust in the system. And it just happens to be convenient for them to enable them to take a trillion dollars of the people's money to distribute to the fat cats as they see fit. But how much control do they actually have?

    They have all these legal mechanisms in place, concentration camps, the power to imprison anyone Bush wants without charges, the power to put soldiers on the streets, all the power any dictator needs. But a certain amount of their power relies on stealth. They have to pretend to be supporting democracy and freedom. When do they come out in the open and reveal their fangs? They are ready to clamp down with maximum force at any time. But there are no guarantees in real life, in living history. Will the people submit? No one really knows. Will the Bush administration finally push too far and cause people to push back?

    There are many signs that they plan to unleash further horrors on us in order to prevent any electoral movement from budging them from power. But they continue to try to maintain a balance, keep enough people ignorant, enough people happy, enough people cowed to keep chaos from taking over. A certain amount of chaos is in their favor. They derive their power from fear. But there is always a chance they will push too far and wake the sleeping giant.

    When your power is based on fear and you lie all the time and thumb your noses at people when you do it, it does eventually break down trust. And without trust, everything falls apart. What is money, anyway. It's a note that is worth something because we agree it is worth something, because we agree on it. When everything is lies, it seems that it eventually undermines even the value of that money. We are far from a barter system. Gold became a currency because there was always a market for it. People wanted it. Drugs and weapons serve as international currencies because of the same reason. But dollar bills, notes, have no inherent value. And numbers in computers have no inherent value. And now the bottom is falling out of the whole financial system. Where is the bottom? How far will it drop? The Bush administration seized power during a prosperous period and proceeded to follow the Hitler playbook in many ways. But Hitler used the financial calamity of 1930s Germany to his advantage. Bush succeeded in setting up all the mechanisms of power during relatively prosperous times. Now has he finally ushered in the financial calamity that it takes to complete his takeover?

    But once again, even when you are following the established playbook of the so-called Great Dictators, there is nothing sure. And most dictators and dictatorships do eventually fall. Unfortunately, however, many tyrants die peacefully in their own beds. The inherent power of the people is much more powerful than these tyrants. But is there enough self-awareness? Is there enough rage? Is there enough love of freedom, enough courage left?

    Bush's power is also based on corporate economic power. It is important to his base that the wheels of the economy keep turning, that the coffers of his corporate clients continue to be filled. So they need to keep the deception going, keep the tyranny undercover, keep the cattle happy and keep the consumers buying. That is something that may keep them from bringing their ruthlessness too far into the open, much as they would enjoy it. There is a limit to their power. Even if they control the voting machines, there is a limit to how much they can fix an election. It has to be fairly close. There's still enough free flow of information and resistance in the country that they cannot completely control the outcome of elections.

    Now Bush's anointed successor, John McCain, is waiting to take over the reins from Bush and continue the destruction. His main claim to being qualified is his status of being allegedly a hero because he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Why his status as a prisoner of war should confer any leadership ability, or managerial skills is obscure. McCain was a pilot. His father was an admiral. His grandfather was an admiral. McCain never commanded anything. His military records are well hidden now. We don't know why he did not rise to a leadership position in the military as his father and grandfather did. We do know that he wrecked several planes before he was shot down in Vietnam.

    I spoke to a Vietnam vet who was an infantryman a couple of days ago. He said, "I was a grunt. We were the guys on the ground doing the fighting. The pilots, they were guys who put on their nice clean uniforms and flew high over the country and bombed people down below, and then came back and their shoes were still shined. I don't think they give enough credit to the grunts. We were the ones really doing the work. McCain was a pretty boy, a flyboy, who never got his hand dirty, a lot like Bush really. We resented them."

  • John McCain, Make-Believe Maverick Rolling Stone
  • Pod Candidate -- Not the Mccain we knew. Ken Burns

    October 11, 2008

    Rove is Behind the McCain Campaign -- It's Karl Rove, the dark svengali, pulling the strings behind the McCain campaign. According to Rolling Stong, "Ever since the nomination of Sarah Palin, Washington has been abuzz with rumors that Rove has been invited to help plot campaign strategy for McCain. His rise from the ashes is the scariest story of an already scary campaign season. Presidents come and go; they sit in a place where the law can still touch them, and they're subject to the vote once every four years. But Karl Rove is a revolutionary, a man who can't be stopped by anything except death and maybe - maybe - prison. Rove is trying to finish the work of Nixon and Bush: to achieve the supremacy of a peculiarly American form of Leninism, one that involves the drowning of the electoral process in idiot witch hunts and dirty tricks, the handing over of all policy to anyone with a dollar more than the next guy, and the total aggrandizement of incumbent power at the expense of an entire system of checks and balances. With Rove back in the mix, there's now a hell of a lot more at stake this November than there was when a batty, battle-scarred old poll-chaser like John McCain was the darkest figure on the ticket. Not to sound too alarmist, but Election Day now becomes a referendum on democracy itself."
  • Bad for the Gander -- McCain, busy under Rove's guidance trying to smear Obama with whatever he can find or make up, has many skeletons in the closets of his many homes. According to CBS, "In the 1980s, McCain served on the advisory board to the U.S. chapter of an international group linked to ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America. The U.S. Council for World Freedom aided rebels trying to overthrow the leftist government of Nicaragua. That landed the group in the middle of the Iran-Contra affair and in legal trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, which revoked the charitable organization's tax exemption." Columnist Jack Anderson linked the company's Latin American affiliate to death squad political assassinations.
  • High Crimes and Latitudes -- Palin abused her power with her firing of the man who refused to fire her ex-brother in law, according to the LA Times.
  • Republican War on Democracy -- According to Ernest Partridge of "The polls show an expanding lead for Obama over McCain, with no clear indication that the trend might reverse. Conventional political 'wisdom' tells us that Barack Obama and Joe Biden may be on the road to a substantial victory in November. Sorry, folks, but I'll have to rain on this parade. Have you forgotten? Private Republican corporations count and compile the votes with secret and unverifiable software! Just as they did in 2000 and in 2004, and we all know how that turned out. Acccordingly, the stark fact remains: the Republicans might 'win' this election, regardless of the preference of the voters. The culprits who rigged the previous elections are fully aware that they might face hard time in the federal slammer if President Obama's Attorney General is ordered to investigate past elections. Thus they are acutely motivated to use their considerable resources to keep Obama out of the White House. And that's just the beginning: the GOP is waging a multi-front war on our democracy." If the Obama-Biden team is to win, the article says, "it must win big. Less than 60% of the actual popular vote puts the contest into 'The Diebold Zone,' whereby a McCain-Palin win becomes plausible in the public mind, and the 'paperless' GOP voting machines and their secret software take care of the rest." And finally, "As election day approaches, the public clamor for change in Washington must become sufficiently intense that the media can not ignore it, and the Republicans dare not resist it. There must be an intensity of rejection of the party in power combined with uniting behind a reformer that has not been seen since FDR's election in 1932. Given the breadth and depth of corruption and lawlessness in the Bush/Cheney regime, the unpopularity of the Iraq war, and the collapse of the economy, such a time might again be upon us."

    Columbus Day
    October 12, 2008

    After eight years of callously shafting the middle class and the poor in favor of a tiny sliver of the population represented by the richest corporations, the Bush administration has toppled the palace. After a big party of greed for his donors at the expense of the rest of the country, now the top is falling in on everyone. If you ignore the welfare of the vast majority of the country for long enough, the system loses its foundation and there is nothing left to hold it up. The Bush administration has no credibility. It has lied so much, so constantly, so grievously in such profound ways, that no one believes anything Bush or the rest of the mob says. Without trust, everything falls apart, as we are seeing. Hang on, it's going to be a wild ride.
    Mad John Spins Again -- The erratic, desperate, wavering McCain campaign changes course yet again. According to the LA Times "After a week of increasingly nasty rallies in which John McCain and Sarah Palin hammered Democratic rival Barack Obama over his "association" with a 1960s-era radical, the Republican candidates changed tactics Saturday during campaign swings through two presidential battleground states. Palin launched a new front in the culture wars here, attacking Obama on abortion, while in Iowa, McCain concentrated on a critique of Obama's spending proposals."
  • Lost and Getting More Lost -- Republican leaders are expressing more and more concern over McCain. He seems "lost." According to, "Republican leaders appealed to McCain again and again to reinstate stability in his presidential candidacy and settle on a clear message to counter Senator Barack Obama."
  • Bush Doubles Back -- The White House, too, is wavering, scattered, erratically changing course. The New York Times reports that, "Two weeks after persuading Congress to let it spend $700 billion to buy distressed securities tied to mortgages, the Bush administration has put that idea aside in favor of a new approach that would have the government inject capital directly into the nation's banks -- in effect, partially nationalizing the industry." Probably a better plan, though much more in violation with the free market religion embraced by the right wing privatizers, and that's why it wasn't suggested before. These plans rushed out at the very last minute as the world financial system collapses, should have been proposed deliberately and carefully a year ago.
  • McCain's Lynch Mobs -- Joan Walsh, Salon's editor in chief on "McCain's Dishonorable Campaign ... Frank A. Schaeffer, a McCain friend and former supporter (McCain blurbed his book on military service), has denounced the McCain campaign in a Baltimore Sun Op-Ed he cross-posted on Open Salon. 'Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs,' Schaeffer warned." Salon
  • Palinphobia Spreads -- "God love her, but this ain't amateur hour. Susan Demas
  • RFK: "The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel" Truthout.
  • Challenges for Crooks -- Stealing the election will be much more difficult this time. The scales are tipping. According to Michael Collins at Scoop, in 2004 "Bush lost rural ('red') votes, his base, yet won the election. At the same time, we're asked to believe that there was a 66% increase in 'big city' turnout in 2004, with Bush doubling his vote total there compared to 2000. This is absurd (the real figure is closer to a 13% to 15% turnout increase for 'big cities' according to actual results). But that 66% 'big city' turnout increase is what the exit pollsters, sponsored by the major media consortium, had to do to make Bush's reported vote count consistent with the final exit poll reported the day after the election. The same people who stole those two elections just took $840 billion of your money and are giving it to their Wall Street donors. They're the same people who started a war with Iraq based on documented lies and who continued it for five years, with a combined death toll of over one million Iraqi civilians and thousands of U.S. soldiers. They are the people who won't correct the lie and insist on more of the same. These people resolutely ignore the looming climate changes to the planet that forecast death to tens of millions and the likelihood of multiple scenes like those after Hurricane Katrina." But this time, Collins says, the scales may have moved too far even for their devious schemes.

    -- David Cogswell

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